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Speech-Over 5: Conversation with Joel Harband

Thursday, May 14, 2015
posted by Geetesh on 9:30 AM IST





Joel HarbandJoel Harband heads Tuval Software Industries, based in Israel. Their best known product is Speech-Over, a PowerPoint add-in that enables PowerPoint slides to incorporate narrations using automated voices.

In this conversation, Joel discusses the new Speech-Over version 5 release.

Geetesh: Tell us more about the new Speech-Over 5, and how it can help PowerPoint users quickly create narrated slides?

Joel: We at Tuval Software are really excited about Speech-Over 5! It turns any narration script text into audio narration in PowerPoint in just a few seconds -- thanks to text to speech software, which works faster than ever. And updating the narration is a dream -- just edit the text and you are through. The time savings in adding narration impacts on the development time for the entire presentation: save 50% of the time. Another time-saving feature: narrations are synced with animations automatically and instantaneously, without any time-line editing.

But what I really want to tell people about is that we have improved the text to speech voices to the extent that they are now a real alternative to professional voice talent recordings in presentations and videos for learning and training.


Speech-Over tab in the PowerPoint Ribbon

We've identified the reason why professional voice talents and motivational speakers are so effective: they introduce short pauses in their speech, called rhetorical pauses, which break up the sentences into phrases, making it easier for the ear to hear and understand the separate ideas contained in the sentence (these "rules of elocution" are well-known to the great motivational speakers).

Speech-Over 5 lets the user add those rhetorical pauses in a text to speech voice. Presentation authors add them by inserting vertical bars in the narration text where the pauses are desired, following the simple rules of elocution provided. The results are amazing to hear (listen to the video on our site).

In addition, the user can now control the length of pauses after punctuation marks: comma, em-dash, period, and paragraph -- which makes the voices even more realistic.

The Speech-Over 5 release includes two products: our flagship product Speech-Over Professional for commercial use, and the new low-cost product Speech-Over Cool for general use. Speech-Over Cool uses the Microsoft Speech Platform text to speech voices (which are pretty cool).

Geetesh: We found that PowerPoint’s video output incorporates all the narrations that Speech-Over 5 creates – this makes it super easy to create YouTube movies and advertorials! Can you share your thoughts and any tips on making this process even better?

Joel: Yes, that is correct. Beginning with PowerPoint 2010 you could produce WMV video files with audio and with PowerPoint 2013 you can produce the much smaller MP4 videos. Because all visual and media effects produced by Speech-Over are standard PowerPoint effects, they are handled perfectly in PowerPoint video output.

"Super easy" says it all -- I will just add that changing and updating the video's narration is just as fast -- just edit the narration text and produce the video again.

Thanks, Geetesh, for giving us the opportunity to tell people about Speech-Over 5.

See Also: Speech-Over Professional: Conversation with Joel Harband

Categories: add-in, interviews, powerpoint

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